domenica 27 maggio 2018

Boromir - Mithril M128 (1989)

Today's figure is one of the classics of Mithril, released in 1989 as M128 and then again as MC13 Mithril Classics in 1997. Like Elrond and the Elvenking, it belongs to the Golden Age of Mithril, when sculpts were simple but elegant, cheap and easily available. It's beautifully sculpted, and it was easy and fun to paint. 

 Boromir is represented rather faithfully, according to the description we have of him at the Council of Elrond.
"[...] seated a little apart was a tall man with a fair and noble face, dark-haired and grey-eyed, proud and stern of glance.
 "He was cloaked and booted as if for a journey on horseback; and indeed though his garments were rich, and his cloak was lined with fur, they were stained with long travel. He had a collar of silver in which a single white stone was set; his locks were shorn about his shoulders. On a baldric he wore a great horn tipped with silver that now was laid upon his knees. [...]"
FotR, The Council of Elrond
"[...] Boromir had a long sword, in fashion like Andúril but of less lineage and he bore also a shield and his war-horn."
FotR, The Ring goes South
Other authors have followed this description to depict the Man of Gondor. Others didn't. At all. Let's have a look at a few of them.

Ralph Bakshi's animated movie, 1978. Yep, that's him.

Sergey Yuhimov, one of my favourites Tolkien illustrators
Ted Nasmith
Catherine Karina Chmiel drew and painted Boromir many times. She did a wonderful job every time.
Sean Bean in Peter Jackson's FotR (2001)
Donato Giancola kills it, though. It's just perfect.
Quite inspiring, isn't it? But there's a single piece that inspired Chris Tubb on this sculpt, and that is Angus McBride's portait of the Fellowship, used by I.C.E. as the cover art for MERP in 1986. Boromir is second from the right.

It's only a model.
But what of Boromir himself? The character from the book, I mean. He is one of the few "grey" characters of LotR: like Saruman, he starts off among the champions of the Free Peoples but, along the way, he is corrupted - by the power promised by the Ring, by the burden of fighting an apparently losing war against Shadow. He tries to wrest the Ring from Frodo, and his actions ultimately split the Company.
But unlike Saruman, Boromir finds redemption. Understanding his mistakes, he valiantly gives his life defending the Hobbits against Orcs, slaying twenty of them single-handedly before being brought down by archers.

Yet, most people remember Boromir as a dick, the asshole of the Company: since his introduction in Rivendell, he has a haughty demeanor and challenges everyone else's words. While the main characters support each other, Boromir always takes the side of contradiction and especially casts doubts on everything Aragorn says. He complains a lot about Gondor bearing the burden of keeping the Shadow in check and getting little credit and no help from others, who benefit from its defence. He is clearly not a team player.
"By our valour the wild folk of the East are still restrained, and the terror of Morgul kept at bay; and thus alone are peace and freedom maintained in the lands behind us, bulwark of the West. But if the passages of the River should be won, what then?"
`I was not sent to beg any boon, but to seek only the meaning of a riddle,' answered Boromir proudly. `Yet we are hard pressed, and the Sword of Elendil would be a help beyond our hope-if such a thing could indeed return out of the shadows of the past.' He looked again at Aragorn, and doubt was in his eyes.
Boromir looked at them doubtfully, but he bowed his head. `So be it,' he said. `Then in Gondor we must trust to such weapons as we have. And at the least, while the Wise ones guard this Ring, we will fight on. Mayhap the Sword-that-was-Broken may still stem the tide – if the hand that wields it has inherited not an heirloom only, but the sinews of the Kings of Men.'
`Who can tell?' said Aragorn. `But we will put it to the test one day.'
`May the day not be too long delayed,' said Boromir. 'For though I do not ask for aid, we need it. It would comfort us to know that others fought also with all the means that they have.'
I mean, if you are half aware of the troubles Gandalf and Aragorn have gone through to fight the Shadow in the North and the Wilderland, how can you not want to punch Boromir in the face?
For the rest of the journey to Lorien, Boromir makes himself useful but has no kind words for anyone. Mostly he offers suggestions on how to proceed, and he is often loth to follow Gandalf's directions, not mention Aragorn's. He would like to go to Rohan and he's most vocal against going through Moria, even more than Legolas. There's really a lot of complaining, muttering, moaning and bickering from him.
"At that moment from far off the wind bore to their listening ears the howling of wolves. Bill the pony started in fear, and Sam sprang to his side and whispered softly to him.
'Do not let him run away! ' said Boromir. 'It seems that we shall need him still, if the wolves do not find us. How I hate this foul pool! ' He stooped and picking up a large stone he cast it far into the dark water.
The stone vanished with a soft slap; but at the same instant there was a swish and a bubble. Great rippling rings formed on the surface out beyond where the stone had fallen, and they moved slowly towards the foot of the cliff.
FotR, A Journey in the Dark
Well done, pal.

Boromir's complaining goes on all the time; before, during and after the Fellowship reaches Lórien. He is most suspicious of Elves, even more than Gimli. Then, while on the banks of Anduin, Boromir becomes Frodo's stalker. He follows him, clumsily attempts to look friendly and presses him, trying badly to manipulate him until, unsuccessful, he freaks out and prompts Frodo's flight. The Man of Gondor then goes into confusion: he does not warn others, but wanders alone for half an hour, maybe an hour, and when his companions find him, he can't really help them in locating Frodo.

At this point the Orcs come and Boromir dies. His moment of redemption comes at the very end, but it's too little, too late.
A mile, maybe, from Parth Galen in a little glade not far from the lake he found Boromir. He was sitting with his back to a great tree, as if he was resting. But Aragorn saw that he was pierced with many black-feathered arrows; his sword was still in his hand, but it was broken near the hilt; his horn cloven in two was at his side. Many Orcs lay slain, piled all about him and at his feet.
Aragorn knelt beside him. Boromir opened his eyes and strove to speak. At last slow words came. 'I tried to take the Ring from Frodo ' he said. 'I am sorry. I have paid.' His glance strayed to his fallen enemies; twenty at least lay there. 'They have gone: the Halflings: the Orcs have taken them. I think they are not dead. Orcs bound them.' He paused and his eyes closed wearily. After a moment he spoke again.
'Farewell, Aragorn! Go to Minas Tirith and save my people! I have failed.'
'No!' said Aragorn, taking his hand and kissing his brow. 'You have conquered. Few have gained such a victory. Be at peace! Minas Tirith shall not fall!'
Boromir smiled.
'Which way did they go? Was Frodo there?' said Aragorn.
But Boromir did not speak again.

Even later, when Frodo meets Faramir in Ithilien, the memory of Boromir lives on as the favourite son of the other dick of the story, his father Denethor. He may be dead, but more reasons to hate him continue to pop up. And yet he lives among heroes, everyone just having good words about him, especially his brother Faramir.

In Tolkien's plan, Boromir was a tragic hero. The greatest warrior and captain of Gondor seduced by the power of the enemy, but still able to redeem himself before the end. Defeated, but with honour.

To us, it's a Sea Bean meme. Possibly befitting, not sure.

One does not simply forget about this.
Still, Chris Tubb's figure rocks.

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